I’m not here to say that everyone should learn to learn to play an instrument.
Some people just want to listen, so if playing isn’t your thing, more power to you.
As my pal Jay used to say about things like this, “That’s why they make more than one kind of breakfast cereal.”
I’m just sayin’ if you want to… you’ve gotta try it!
One of my students, Minni, never had the chance to learn music as a kid. She grew up in Northern Italy where classical music is the big thing.
At age 55 she decided to go for it.
She lives in Cremona, where the violin-as-we-know-it was literally invented a few hundred years ago by Mr. Stradivari and his pals.
Today there’s a skyscraper of a violin sculpture that welcomes you into the city, and you can find luthiers carrying on the tradition in just about every other store-front.
Pizza shop, violin shop, gelato shop, violin shop, farmacia, violin shop.
Children and teens with violin cases on their backs infest the piazza like cockroaches scurrying in every direction.
She bought a decent locally made violin, and called a few teachers.
They didn’t want to take her on.
My theory is that these teachers are more interested in a child who may make a name for them by becoming the next big thing. Or maybe they just don’t know how to teach adults- I admit it is way different.
When she finally found a teacher, he loaded her up with sheet music and etudes. Barely showed her how to hold the bow.
Great!! She found someone who didn’t know how to teach adults, BUT WAS WILLING TO DO IT ANYWAY. YAY!!!
It was frustrating, of course. She easily could have concluded she has no musical talent and deemed the whole project a huge disappointing waste of money and time.
Thankfully she did a YouTube search and found me!
I’m not trying to brag.
I want to show you by Minni’s example that there’s power in seeking and trying different things when one thing isn’t working. I’m also gonna tell you in a minute where she has ended up with violin.
But meanwhile I am pretty dang proud.
She searched a bunch of videos on how to hold the bow and found mine easier to understand than the others she had seen in her native language of Italian.
Anyway that’s how we found each other and the rest is history.
I’ll never forget when she started to make her first truly beautiful sounds on the violin with long steady full resonant bow strokes. I get goose bumps every time one of my students feels that for the first time.
We were smiling at each other, big toothy ones, and she said,
“People are depressed. Because they don’t play the violin.”
I jotted that down in my notebook right when she said it.
I thought it was true. And important. Even if it’s just a metaphor and violin isn’t necessarily your thing.
So I did what every socially responsible truth seeking person would do…
And posted it as a meme on my Instagram!
I believe the ability to play music is one of the basic human functions that we all share. And that our world will change for the better if everyone who wants to play gets to, regardless of age or social background.
More understanding and awareness among different cultures.
The way I see it, right now, some of our most creative minds, the ones that are born to make art and solve problems, have had to shut down their playful creative sides due to obligation or social pressure. It’s depressing.
I believe this is the # 1 cause of otherwise nice people slowly turning into ass holes.
(Pardon my French!)
In certain tribes in Africa there is not even a word for musician or dancer. It’s just understood that everyone is included.
“Only relatively recently, five hundred years or so ago, did a distinction arise that cut society in two, forming separate classes of music performers and music listeners.,”
writes Daniel Levitin,
“Throughout most of the world and for most of human history, music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking, and everyone participated.”
That’s from his book, This is Your Brain on Music.
Civilization has brought about some comfortable perks, like hobbit movies and turtleneck sweaters, but we’ve also put our musicians up on stages at a distance above us.
If you wanna start playing the instrument you’ve always dreamed of to enhance your life and happiness, but have no idea where to start…
Check out this video!
Your assignment for today is…..
Create a comment below, and answer me these 3 questions from today’s class:
My top instrument I’d like to start (or explore more) in 2017 is _________.
The top three pieces or musical vibes I’d like to master are _____________.
I want to play _________________ because _________________________________.
There are a lot of things out of your control in life, but deciding to learn a musical instrument and get good at it, is in your control.
“There is only one reason that you ever fail at anything…and that is because you eventually change your mind. That’s it!…anything and everything you have ever decided to do, you have succeeded, or will succeed, at doing.”
-Victor L. Wooten, The Music Lesson